Wireless & Internet Tech

Squeezing Out More Bandwidth By Twisting Radio Waves

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As data traffic grows at an increasingly rapid pace, wireless bandwidth is fast becoming a precious commodity. Enter Italian astrophysicist Fabrizio Tamburini and his proposed solution-- one involving "twisting" radio waves. 

twisting wiresThe idea takes inspiration from the gravity black holes generate-- gravity so immense it causes light waves to twist. In a recent paper, Tamburini shows a means to twist radio waves in a similar way-- creating multiple subfrequencies distinguished by the degree of twistedness. 

You can tune the wave with a given frequency as you normally do, but there is also a fingerprint left by the twist,” Tamburini says. The twisting method can potentially "squeeze out" 100 times more bandwidth from existing frequencies. 

Tamburini and colleague Bo Thidé successfully demonstrated the system last June, with a custom dish setup in Venice broadcasting video encoded in both twisted and normal radio waves across St. Mark's Basin. 

The next step? Creating small, cheap antennas transmitting and receiving twisted signals for commercial applications, such as smartphones and other mobile devices. 

Go Radio Beam Vorticity and Orbital Angular Momentum (Fabrizio Tamburini, Bo Thidé)

WiGig Chairman Speaks at xSolutions

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Ali AdriIntel’s Dr. Ali Sadri, President and Chairman of the Wireless Gigabit Alliance, addresses the pro audio video industry for the first time at xSolutions.

While a lot of attention in wifi goes to consumer markets where moving audio and video without wires isn’t mission critical, the real key to WiGig may be the business market. In hospitals, for example.

WiGig is not just faster wifi…it’s a fast, short-haul service at 60GHz that will replace some local area networks. It’s extreme wireless bringing business multi-gigabit wifi.

60GHz is a much wider spectrum field than current wifi, so it enables speeds up to 7GBytes. Its distance is limited but WiGig uses a technology called beamforming, a directional antenna to send a signal further than 10 meters (40 feet).

Hospitals are big users of wifi as their networks need to free doctors from phones and empower nurses with electronic medical records and the latest tests. WiGig could allow the heaviest loads to be switched on the shortest distances.

Recently endorsed by the WiFi Alliance, this year you’ll start to see chips for the new WiGig spec and products based on those chips in 2012.

Wifi was essentially designed in the ‘90s and seen only a few updates. "We want to take Wi-Fi truly into the 21st century," says Sadri.

Go Wireless Gigabit Alliance

WiGig Devices Get PlugFest Testing

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The Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig) announces the first PlugFest event-- where alliance members will test the interoperability of devices using the WiGig standard.

WiGigThe event runs for 3 days and is organised in collaboration with MET Labs and UL CCS, two leading independent compliance, testing and certification houses, and key test instrumentation provider Agilent Technologies.

The event marks a transition for WiGig-- from technology specification (currently standing at version 1.1) to actual commercial products running the ultra-fast 60Hz standard.

The alliance says WiGig-enabled devices will hit the market at around either late 2012 or early 2013.

Go World's First WiGig Technology PlugFest

Mobile Broadband Congestion to Worsen?

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mobile broadbandITU warns network bottlenecks will be increasingly unavoidable if governments don't support mobile broadband growth-- by accelerating fibre roll-out and allow greater spectrum availablility.

Smartphone users consume an averate of 5x more data capacity than non-smartphone mobile users, with the W.W. number of smartphones predicted to rise from today's 500m handsets to over 2bn by 2015. Operators are already trying to keep up with demand via multi-pronged strategies-- but not all are succeeding, especially in high-usage cities like London. This results in chronic network unavailability problems.

ITU also estimates W.W. mobile broadband subscriptions will reach 1bn by Q1 2011's end, as mobile signals cover 90% of the globe.

Currently 98 countries have National Broadband Plans-- a number set to increase over this year. Meanwhile European operators are already campaigning for the increase in spectrum for mobile communications, alongside harmonised spectrum allocations for latest-gen technologies. One suggestion is to allow access to unused broadcast spectrum-- a.k.a. "white-spaces"-- to help alleviate the spectrum squeeze.

Go Network Congestion Set to Worsen-- ITU Calls for International Broadband Commitment

Boost Waning Mobile Signals

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zboostZBoost's zPocket YX110 signal booster is ideal for travellers-- the unit extends a single mobile's signal in a compact package  requiring no installation.

Users place the base unit on a window while the mobile device sits in the pocket antenna. A 20' cable connects the antenna to the base unit.

One can then use the phone through either its speakerphone or any headset.

The booster is currently compatible with mobile devices using 800 and 1900 MHz signals.

Go zBoost zPocket YX110